Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So eat your beans at every meal!
Any post with the word “toot” in it has to be a good one, right? I for one, love beans. I would work them into every meal if my husband would allow it, but alas, beans are permitted only once a week or so. Regardless, I buy a lot of beans. I eat chickpeas in my salads, sneak white kidney beans into soups and pride myself on my bean-packed homemade chili. (“Homemade” = opening cans of tomato sauce, beans, and a spice packet. Yeah, I’m amazing.) Well, recently I have become aware of the existence of BPA in canned foods, and am working towards eliminating canned foods in our home. I took a “before” picture of my pantry, and I’m hoping that by this time next year, my “after” picture will contain only canned-in-jars food! Beans is a big step towards that, since one whole shelf is dedicated to them!
I chose to can red kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas this time around. I’ll hit up some other varieties at a later date. The process is the same for any dried variety, so feel free to shake it up!
Canning Dried Beans
What You Will Need:
- 4 lbs Dried Beans = 13 Pints
- Pressure Canner (beans are a low-acid food and MUST be pressure canned.)
- Canning tools
- Canning salt – optional. I did not use any, but I will tell you how to use it if you choose to.
Wash and sort your beans. Discard any discolored or diseased-looking beans.
Place beans in a large pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. Boil 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and let soak while you wash your jars and sterilize them.
How to sterilize jars: In a 20-qt pot or your pressure canner, sink your jars in enough water to completely cover them. Bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes. Let the jars sit in the hot water to keep them hot until you are ready to fill them, one at a time.
If you have a dishwasher, just run the dishwasher to clean and sterilize them and leave them in your dishwasher until you are ready to fill them.
Out of my 4 burners, only my two little ones and one of the big ones works, so I had to sterilize my jars on the burner that worked before I could start heating up my canner. If all 4 of your burners work, add an inch of water to your pressure canner and start heating it up. Once your jars are sterilized and you begin to fill them, you can use the hot water from that to add to your pressure canner so you have 3-4 inches of water.
Meanwhile, get a kettle of water boiling in your teapot or another pan. You will need this to fill your jars.
If you are as slow as I am, or as distracted by children as I am, this has probably taken you a good hour to get your jars ready. That is good timing, because your beans should be pretty well soaked by now! Drain your beans, rinse them one more time and set near your filling station. (A towel on the counter next to your pressure canner. Keep all your tools handy on the towel.)
One at a time, gripping your jar firmly with the jar lifter, remove the jar from the sterilizing water, dump the hot water into your pressure canner, and set the empty hot jar on a towel. Ladle beans into the jar. You’ll probably want to use a funnel to keep the beans from making a mess. Or maybe you are more coordinated than I am… I needed the funnel.
If you want to add canning salt, this is the time to do it. 1/2 teaspoon to each pint (1 tsp to quarts).
Fill the jars with hot water from your teapot to a 1″ headspace.
With a plastic knife or tool, carefully stir the beans to make sure any trapped air bubbles get released.
WIPE YOUR RIMS. Don’t forget this very important step! If you don’t wipe your rims, and somehow a particle of bean is left on the rim, your lids will not seal correctly and you will have a jar of rotten beans!
In a small pan, bring your lids and some water to an ALMOST boil. Just so the water is hot, not quite boiling. It’s ok if you are just now doing this step, your bean-filled jars will stay hot while you do this. Once your lids are hot, use your magnetic lid-lifter to lift them out of the water, place them on your jars and screw the bands on. Fill your pressure cooker AFTER making sure you have at least 3 inches of water! (I played it safe and put in 4″) If you have a pressure cooker like mine, you can do 2 layers of pint jars. I have been dying to try this out! I think it’s the coolest thing ever.
At this point, I was completely ready to lock my canner and crank up the heat, but I still had a ton of beans left! (I had only started with 9 pint jars) So I found 4 more pint jars and quickly washed and sterilized them (while keeping the other jars hot with the lid on the canner)
Anyway, YOU won’t do that, because YOU are learning from my mistakes. 4lbs = roughly 13 pint jars. Obviously the teeny tiny black beans won’t take as many jars as the big kidney or chickpeas will. Next time I will just wash and sterilize 14 pint jars, which is all that will fit in my canner anyway. If I don’t use some, no big deal. At least I won’t have to scramble at the last minute like I did this time!
Processing Dried Beans
(Yes, I am boiling more eggs! Those pickled eggs were awesome!)
On medium-high heat, allow the canner to vent for 10 minutes. Process pint jars 75 minutes at 10lbs psi, and quart jars 90 minutes at 10lbs. Allow gauge to return to zero, (this could take an hour. Be patient) then wait 10 minutes, remove weight, then remove the lid. Place jars back on the towel and allow to cool. Stick around to listen for the “pop”! Once the jars are cool (at least an hour later), remove the rings and test the seals. Just use your fingers and apply medium pressure. They should not budge. If any failed to seal, refrigerate the beans and use in the next few days. You *can* reprocess them, but it’s not recommended because it alters the flavor.
I have to tell you, my jars of beans have been sitting on my counter for three days now because I’m so satisfied with myself and I just like looking at them. I’m no longer dependent on canned beans! I don’t have to try to remember to soak beans the night before! Muwahahaha! I feel powerful, which is a little ironic since my actions are actually a regression from technology and convenience. But that’s okay. My homemade canned beans cost about a third of store-bought canned beans and I’m not getting any nasty toxins. It’s worth it to regress!